Writing research papers about music

Writing research papers about music

As a student, you probably write a huge amount of essays. And your major does not matter. Lawyers write no fewer papers than philologists. It’s just that their texts have slightly different specificity.

Therefore, if you attend a music course, you should be prepared for what you will be asked to write a music research paper. In its structure and organizational aspects, the paper writing will be the same as any other paper. But the content will be very different. Some paper topics require professional knowledge, for example, when you need to analyze a work. In this case, music is your only source, you cannot use the opinion of another critic.

Also, a professor can assign you with a research paper on the mechanics of music, the history of music. You can choose a fairly general topic that does not require special knowledge. For example, if you do not play any musical instruments and do not have a good ear for music, you can write an essay on behalf of an ordinary listener. And we are going to tell you how to manage this challenge with paper topics.

Music research paper: the structure

At first glance, it might seem that writing a music research paper is an exceptionally creative task. But this does not mean that you can take a pen and get to work right away.

This is an academic paper topic that requires some effort. You have to do research, study various sources, evaluate information from critics. This will help you get your first ideas about paper topics and content.

It is also important for you to decide on the type of article: your research paper will be descriptive or argumentative. You can gather evidence for any topic, pick up the arguments for and against.

At the same time, the basic structure of the musical essay remains the same, the same as for any other academic papers. You will need an introduction, a research paper body, and a logical and convincing conclusion.

The music essay introduction

The introduction is your very first section of a music research paper in which you meet readers. Your main task is to briefly introduce them to the topic, to show further options for the development of the idea. This will determine if the audience wants to view the next section of the paper. How can you get its attention? The original quote, definition, brief thesis. You can offer a riddle, the answer to which will be written in the body of the paper.

Body for research paper

The body of research papers is the most important part. This is the place where you fully reveal your topic, provide arguments in defense of your thesis or refute it. If you have several ideas, you should highlight a paragraph for each of them.

Here is the standard paragraph structure for your inspiration:

  • Thesis statement formulating your position, presentation of musical instruments
  • An explanation of the argument from your point of view
  • Statistical Facts, Quotes
  • Factual explanation of the argument
  • Brief conclusion
  • The transitional sentence, which helps to smoothly proceed to the next paragraph

The length of each paragraph should not exceed 10 sentences, especially if you have many such paragraphs. Try to express your ideas in a short form.

Musical research paper conclusion

When you finish the music research paper, you must provide readers with a sense of understanding of the topic, its completeness. Read your paper again. Compare it with the plan that you had before paper writing. Analyze if you managed to achieve your original goals in the process. If not, you can still come back and make some changes to the draft version.

The final paragraph may look like this:

  • 1-2 sentences for the main thesis
  • analysis of key points of the article
  • conclusions.

Features of the writing process

Many students think that writing about music is harder than writing about any other topic. A literary work is much easier to understand than a musical one. In fact, no one expects professional knowledge from you. Everyone can listen to music, analyze it through their own experience, interpret and understand musical works. Of course, the opinion of a professional critic will be different from yours. But you are not writing a critical article for a specialized publication, but a music research paper for a wide audience. If you can explain complex things in simple words, this will be the main advantage of your paper.

So what you have to take care of are your readers. Think about what argument will be most convincing for them, what words they will understand. Imagine yourself as a reader: what paper topic would you like to read? Make a clear research paper structure and try to write it in your chosen style. If you want to read it easily and interestingly, try experimenting with vocabulary.

Below you will find our recommendations on the use of metaphors, professional terminology, paper topics, etc.

Using technical vs. plain language in research papers

What should be of the greatest importance to you is your audience. You should be guided by it, choosing a language. If you write for professionals, you can use technical terms, specific of musical instruments. Such vocabulary is also suitable if you want to clarify any subtleties of music. If your target audience is newbies, you need to find a different approach to them, otherwise, your text will be boring.

Using metaphorical language

It is not easy to convey the meaning of a piece of music using words in your essay writing. Therefore, you certainly need a metaphorical language. A proper comparison or metaphor will help to emphasize the atmosphere of a particular melody. Try to choose the analogy correctly, so that readers feel the whole essence of your idea, and do not waste time trying to understand what you mean.

Immanent critique paper writing

Your professor may instruct you to narrow the topic as much as possible. For example, select only one piece from a piece of music. Or take one argument from a critical article. On the one hand, now you can rely on one single source for paper topics. On the other hand, just surrender to your feelings and thoughts and you will write a wonderful research paper.

Ideas to explore in your college research paper about music

Writing research papers on music is a great opportunity for people who value creativity. You can write a text about your favorite genre, tell you why you love this or that artist. We have prepared some useful ideas for you, depending on the chosen paper topic.

So your research paper is based on:

  • Genre. Do good research for your paper writing to determine how original and meaningful this genre is. What goals does it pursue, what results does it have on society? For example, if you write about folk songs, you can narrow the topic to folk songs of any country. You will also need to study paper topics from all aspects: read a couple of books, look at pictures of artists who worked during that period, etc.
  • Historical era. Each era is remembered for its musical works. Check out what significant events could affect their creation.
  • Compositions. Choose one piece of music and analyze it in detail. What musical instruments did the author use, how did the audience of the audience react, etc?
  • Professionalism. This is a very interesting area, which often goes unnoticed. You must understand that ordinary people and people with a musical education hear the same piece in different ways. Analyze why, what exactly is the difference.